View Full Version : Can I make myself enjoy vegetables?
02-23-2006, 02:11 PM
I like corn and un-cooked carrots every so often, but they are not high on my list of favorites. Most other healthy (non-starchy) vegetables are just plain nasty to me. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, etc. turn my stomach. Is there anyway I can make myself like them?
I want to like vegetables, I really do. I'm 31 years old. I should like vegetables, right? And I should be setting an example for my kids.
I can handle green beans and peas, but most of the time I'd rather not eat them. When my wife makes them for dinner, I try not to think about it and eat them really fast. I'm trying to eat healthier, but it's hard when vegetables just don't taste good.
I've tried forcing myself to eat broccoli and cauliflower to see if I could just aquire a taste for it. It didn't work. Any ideas?
02-23-2006, 02:28 PM
I don't care too much for vegetables either. But if I do eat them I prefer them grilled with some seasoning.
Or chopped up with some pasta or rice.
02-23-2006, 02:29 PM
Try different ways of preparing them. Vegetables, in my experience, vary greatly when cooked in different manners. Badly cooked vegetables are the worst. Second worst is bland vegetables, which is what most people think of when they think of veggies.
How do you prepare the ones you're eating now and not liking? Maybe we can give you some healthy-cooking pointers to make them taste better.
02-23-2006, 02:36 PM
Cauliflower needs cream cheese sauce to be eaten and I think broccolli is best when not cooked too long, still slightly hard in the middle of the stalk.
Thinking about it I am quite strange, I LOVE vegetables, I'm not a vegan but I could eat veggies all day, I even have the large stalk of a broccolli as a snake before dinner.
02-23-2006, 02:38 PM
"broccolli as a snake" ???
I meant snack.
02-23-2006, 02:43 PM
First of all, there are many different vegetables. You say that you don't like broccoli and cauliflour; fair enough. Not everything is for everyone. But what do you think of spinach? Cabbage? Squash? Okra? Asparagus? Mushrooms? Tomatoes, or peppers? The thing is, there's a wide variety of vegetables, with completely different flavors. Not liking some of them does not imply that you'll not like all of them. And you don't need to eat all of them. Along this line, I'll also mention that broccoli, cauliflour, and Brussel sprouts are all closely related, so just not liking those doesn't really indicate much (that's really only one sort of veggie you don't like).
Second, it's very easy to overcook vegetables. This will not only strip them of most of their flavor and texture, it'll also often break down the very nutrients that make them good for you in the first place. If you're used to bland, mushy vegetables, it's just as well that you don't like them, because really, what's the point? Most vegetables are best raw or only slightly cooked: Steamed or stir-fried generally work pretty well. But whatever you do, don't ever boil veggies, unless you intend to make soup. When you boil them, whatever good stuff might happen to survive the cooking will just end up poured down the drain.
02-23-2006, 02:43 PM
I was just reading on the Weight Watchers site, and it was discussing how some people may be more sensitive to the bitter flavors in a lot of vegetables. I like them personally, but you might want to start with milder, sweeter choices. Skip the brussels sprouts and try regular cabbage, either as cole slaw or steamed until tender and served with butter.
My kids, who are also sensitive to strong flavors, will eat more vegetables raw than cooked. My son would rather eat his peas frozen, right out of the bag, for example. You may be the same way.
Finally, don't be shy about adding flavorings to vegetables. I think we often don't like them because they are served bland, unadorned and overcooked. Try butter, lemon juice, honey, cheese, or whatever sounds tasty.
No snakes before dinner, though. You only get snakes if you eat all your vegetables.
02-23-2006, 02:51 PM
I was exactly like you until I discovered this book, recommended by a friend:
The Roasted Vegetable (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1558321691/sr=8-1/qid=1140727862/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-6523903-8215844?%5Fencoding=UTF8)
02-23-2006, 02:52 PM
I never liked vegetables until I needed to lose some weight and decided to eat half a pound before every meal. I bought prepared vegetables from the local Whole Foods and soon discovered that I actually like them.
Like others have said, the difference is in the preparation. All my life I'd been served cooked frozen vegetables and hated them for being icky and mushy. The only way I coud stand them was if they were slathered with cheese or butter. I still don't like frozen vegetables but it turns out that I like fresh vegetables, steamed or roasted, with a little olive oil, salt, and garlic.
02-23-2006, 02:53 PM
One thing that really got me to like broccoli and brusels sprouts was this sauce, one I slightly adapted from a Weight Watches cookbook a long time ago:
1 Tblsp Vegetable oiil
2 Tblsp White vinegar
1 Tblsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Regular yellow prepared mustard
Whip them together with a fork and serve over the veggies. I know it sounds rather non-tasty, but we really like it.
Have you tried steamed asparagus...not overcooked, served with a little butter & salt? Ambrosia.
02-23-2006, 02:55 PM
There are plenty of veggies that I don't particularly care for in their natural state. These can be rendered quite awesome if prepared right. Broccoli and Cauliflower for example I'll make a nice cheese sauce for using milk, freshly grated cheese (in even quantities) and a few tablespoons of flour to thicken. I'll cook up that cheese sauce, then smother the veggies in it. It's best to use medium or aged cheddar for the best flavour, but you can use whatever cheese tickles your fancy.
This does not work for brussel sprouts however. No matter what I've tried I still can't bloody stand those.
There are other veggies, like peas, green or yellow beans, corn, spinach or cabbage, which I like just doused in butter or margarine. But then on the whole, I like most veggies. Except the aforementioned brussel sprouts. And cooked carrots. I can only ever eat cooked carrots when they've been simmering in a stew overnight and have therefore lost most of the cooked-carroty flavour.
Another way I enjoy veggies is with a good dip. Spinach dip in particular is quite nice. (No, it doesn't taste like spinach. It actually has a very nice creamy flavour that seem odd on a cracker)
02-23-2006, 03:00 PM
Cauliflower needs cream cheese sauce to be eaten
I can eat anything if there is enough cheese on it. But it kinda defetes the point, no? Trying to eat the veggies because they are healthy, then you go an throw cheese sauce all over them.
My wife does the cooking. Though a talented cook when she takes the time, most things get thrown in the microwave a couple minutes before we sit down, so mushy and bland is pretty much the name of the game. But she likes them anyway. I want to be like that. Eat them any old way, and enjoy them still the same.
I've tried squash, asparagus and even zuchinni (though that's a fruit, right?). Don't like 'em.
In the past(pre-kids, when there was time) we've tried to spice up the veggies, but to no avail, obivously.
02-23-2006, 03:39 PM
Are these frozen or fresh vegetables? For me, it makes all the difference in the world.
I'll gladly eat frozen peas and corn, but any other vegetable I pretty much only eat fresh. If you're used to rubbery frozen vegetables, it's no wonder you don't like them.
Do you like salads? Make a big salad with lots of lettuce and any raw vegetables you like (carrots and bell peppers are both very sweet) and eat that.
02-23-2006, 03:42 PM
Though a talented cook when she takes the time, most things get thrown in the microwave a couple minutes before we sit down, so mushy and bland is pretty much the name of the game. But she likes them anyway. I want to be like that. Eat them any old way, and enjoy them still the same.
Hmmm. Can't help you there, then. Mushy and bland veggies are icky, and there's no way around that.
I like vegetables, but won't eat mushy bland ones.
Maybe you oughta stick with salads. But then again, most salads are more work to make than tasty veggies. So if you don't have time for one, you won't have time for the other.
02-23-2006, 03:50 PM
As a kid I wasnt really impressed with vegetables. I am at a point now that I really enjoy, and even crave fruit and vegetables. I try to maintain healthy diet, and eat a lot of fruit and veggies. I think that eating habits are just that, habits. The longer I have eaten well the more I have come to desire to eat well.
Not to say I dont have a desire for fried junk when I am hungry, but that I also now have a strong desire for a good salad. I find vegetables refreshing in a way that can not be matched by meat or fried food.
Some things I enjoy, some things I dont. I love a good tart Manila Mango but dont care for those big extra sweet mexican ones. I will probably never care for sweet potato, but the same could certainly be said for bologna. I dont ever buy either of them.
My advice is to start with things you enjoy (carrots are great I eat a couple with my lunch every day) and branch out to similar things. Dont forget your fruit either, there have got to be some you really enjoy eat those and try similar ones.
Sounds like you dont like brocoli and its relatives. Those things are all quite sulfurous and strong tasteing. If you havent already, try them raw of or mildly cooked; otherwise just forget 'em. Surely there are some green vegetables prepared some way you can enjoy instead? Raw or stir fried snow peas? Peppers? Spring greens? Romaine lettuce?
There have to be some foods out there that you wil enjoy as part of your diet, go find them. Cookbooks are a good idea.
02-23-2006, 03:52 PM
My boyfriend Cagey Drifter is not crazy about vegetables either (maybe he'll pop in here and tell you about how he trained himself to like broccoli), but he has been crazy about stir-fries lately, stir-frying broccolini or snow peas or pea sprouts in a hot wok with lots of garlic, soy sauce, and sometimes some hot pepper. Personally, I think a little drizzle of toasted sesame oil on top of the stir-fry after it has been cooked makes it incredibly delicious.
Could you try integrating them into something else? It's always harder to deal with something you don't like when you have to eat it in isolation.
For example, do you like moussaka? It has lots of eggplant and tomatoes, and can be quite healthy if you use crumbled tofu instead of lamb (doesn't make much of a difference flavor-wise due to the strong spices) and grill the eggplant instead of frying it.
I have a nice recipe for green pea pie--made like a covered fruit pie or pot pie, but filled with frozen green peas and little bits of savoriness (such as herbs, fried onions, tiny bits of bacon, or tiny bits of cracklings) instead of a creamy sauce + meat. It's always gone over well at potlucks.
You could make a vegetable tart or quiche (using extra egg whites and maybe low-fat milk or cheese to cut down on calories). Or how about loading up a pizza with vegetables and tomato sauce and using only a little bit of cheese?
I also love Bob Blumer's Carrot and Stick Soup. (http://www.salon.com/nov96/carrot961118.html) In college, I had a friend who hated vegetables and would only eat meat--I don't think he had eaten a green vegetable since moving out of his parents' house--and he helped himself to seconds of this soup!
All the above listed foods reheat pretty well, so you could make a big batch on the weekend and just reheat in the microwave on weekdays.
I don't know what kind of access you have to Asian markets, but an easy, fast dinner I used to make all the time back when I was a carnivore was this: pick up some chopped roast duck, fresh rice noodles or udon, and some spinach or bitter Chinese greens like gai lan, and heat up everything in some broth at home. The bitterness of the vegetables cuts the richness of the duck very nicely. Nowadays I use sliced, marinated tofu, which is good for me but may not stimulate your appetite for vegetables as much as duck would.
Also, just keep trying different vegetables you've never tried before--maybe something will strike your fancy--have you tried artichokes? Bok choy? Beets?
Maybe try browsing some different and interesting recipes from vegetarian cookbooks. The Savory Way (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767901665/sr=8-1/qid=1140731063/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-1608789-1171836?%5Fencoding=UTF8) cookbook has always been an inspiration for me when I don't feel like eating vegetables.
02-23-2006, 04:28 PM
I was at Whole Foods today and they have the BEST salad bar with all kinds of delicious salads containing many different ingredients. Is there someplace like that near you (a natural-food type store that serves homemade vegetable-related dishes)? If so, try some of whatever they're serving. It will give you some ideas of what you can prepare yourself. And if it's close enough you could go there regularly and buy some of their things (it's a lot faster than making them yourself!).
02-23-2006, 04:47 PM
My boyfriend hates veggies and won't eat them. But he loves my collard greens which are simply shredded and stir fried in garlic and olive oil- a process that takes all of five minutes.
What do you normally cook? What does a meal look like to you? What do you eat for breakfast or at work? What benefits are you trying to get from your veggies? Nobody can make recommendations that work with your eating style without knowing these basics.
Lunch at work can be a great time to get that nutritional boost. If you are an office workers, you are rarely all that hungry and are probably sick of the limited options available to you anyway, so you may as well pick out something healthy every day. The cafe by my work offers a vegetable salad plate (made with real veggies- lettuce is the nutritiounal equivelent of eating water) and so I order that every day. It gets tiresome, but it's no less tiresome that ordering another sandwhich.
02-23-2006, 04:49 PM
Also, don't worry too much. The key is to eat either a well-balanced diet or one with a high variety. You can get plenty of nutrition without eating too many vegetables, but you'll have to be a bit more careful about the other things you eat. Don't stress out about things.
02-23-2006, 05:17 PM
Mushy, bland, microwaved vegetables are never going to be very tasty, so don't feel weird about not liking them. Butter, salt, and pepper can help a lot though. Maybe sprinkle some kind of herbs on there.
02-23-2006, 06:15 PM
I loathed most vegetables until it was pointed out to me that they don't have to be eaten raw, plain, or boiled into submission. You can add flavorings, and then they become tasty.
Think about the other foods you like, and see if you can prepare vegetables the same way. I understand that this won't help you much if you like a nice grilled steak, or oysters, or sushi.
Do you like stews? Try making a stew with root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnips), using the same seasonings as for the stew you like.
How about curry? If you like, say, a chicken curry, try making it with cauliflower instead of chicken.
You can make a mighty fine veggie pot pie by using any good chicken pot pie recipe without the chicken.
Runs With Scissors
02-23-2006, 07:48 PM
I don't *hate* them, but I'm not fond of them. I would eat bread and red meat three times a day if I could.
I rarely eat vegetable cooked. I eat the kind that are tasty raw.
I also eat a lot of salads...and light on the lettuce. I use a lot of cukes, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, and some romaine. A *great* dressing is balsamic vinegar and olive oil. And it's great with a diced up chicken breast in it.
02-23-2006, 09:36 PM
My wife does the cooking. Though a talented cook when she takes the time, most things get thrown in the microwave a couple minutes before we sit down, so mushy and bland is pretty much the name of the game. But she likes them anyway. I want to be like that. Eat them any old way, and enjoy them still the same.If you get to the point of enjoying them any old way, you are past the majority of people. Microwaved brocolli is inedible. An alternative is to steam the vegetables. Get a big pot with a steaming sleeve inside. It takes a few minutes to get a couple cups of water to boil on the stove, and from there it cooks as fast as the microwave. You or the kids (depending on age) can set the water to boil and cut up the brocolli. Friends don't let friends eat microwaved broccoli.
The Chao Goes Mu
02-24-2006, 07:29 AM
The only two veggies I'm not fond of are brussel sprouts and carrots. There is nothing I've found yet to render the sprouts edible but one thing I do to make cooked carrots palatable is cooking them with a touch of cinnamon. Sometims I dash a little ginger on them too.
It takes that odd "carroty" flavor out and tricks my palate into thinking I'm eating a sweet potato.
Meh, just a suggestion.
02-24-2006, 07:51 AM
For me, getting to like veggies was much like getting used to skim milk after so many years of loving whole. I first encountered them in Chinese carryout where they are spicy and crunchy, swimming in some kind of tasty sauce. That helped make them yummy. Raw broccoli and cauliflower were made enjoyable by dipping in salad dressing. Then when I grew up and realized I wanted to cut calories, I went to lowfat dressings. Then finally graduated to enjoying them naked, steamed for a few minutes perhaps with a little not-butter, salt & pepper.
02-24-2006, 08:11 AM
I second Chinese cooking. It's very easy to like and generally not overcooked. I usually get something like broccoli with garlic sauce, which overcomes the bitter taste of broccoli (though I like that too) with a sweet, spicy sauce. Some mixed vegetable dishes can be OK, but most inexpensive Chinese has too much of that dreadful canned bamboo.
If you're really needed frozen vegetables, try a different mix. I prefer the vegetable blends (especially the Archer Farms ones from Target) that have a lot of different vegetables including things that add more flavor like onions. They have steam-in-bag ones for the microwave. I use margarine spray with that for a quick dinner along with some gardenburgers or something. Mushy perhaps, but not bland.
Also, I don't see salads being a lot more work. You can get pre-bagged ones; verge away from iceberg, which isn't very nutritious, to romaine, spinach, and mixed green salads. You can even get some salad blends that have just a little bit of broccoli or other vegetables mixed in. Just remember to not get a fatty dressing (Newman's Own has some nice lowfat dressings).
On the raw vegetables side, I love sugar snap peas. I bought a 3 pound bag and ate them all this week sitting at my desk at work. You can eat them plain, or they work really well with the Newman's Own low-fat sesame dressing. They're not bitter, which is a plus if you dislike broccoli and brussels sprouts.
On the more complicated side, I like things like butternut squash soup, stews made with acorn squash, garbanzo beans, and Moroccan spices, or Indian okra curries.
Don't try to force yourself to eat something you hate. Try to find other vegetables or other preparations. Once you acclimate to, say, okra and sugar snap peas, it'll be easier to get in with veggies in general. You may always have some that you dislike, but I found that after abandoning brussels sprouts for many years as inedible, I tried them once on a whim and found I suddenly liked them. Your tastes do change over time, but don't force yourself to make bad associations.
02-24-2006, 08:18 AM
I will also agree with chineese veggies, and will add indian cooking. If you like curry, try these:
How about beets? I'm not talking those nasty things in a can/bottle, I mean fresh beets.
Buy a bundle (usually 3-4) beets; using gloves if you have them, cut off all of the leafy/stem part, and the root end.
With a kitchen scrubby, clean the remaining orb. (It will still be brown - don't skin it yet.)
Steam the beats for ~20-30 minutes, or until a paring knife will pierce to the center with only a little resistance.
Remove the beets, drain the liquid from the pan, clean said pan, and put it back on the burner.
While you're letting the beets cool a bit, add 2 tbsp of butter, 2tbs of orange juice, 2tbs of ginger ale, 2tbs of maple syrup (or brown sugar), and a pinch of salt.
Cook this on medium heat while you prep the beets.
To prep the beets (again, gloves if you have them), use a veggie peeler and remove the brown skin.*
Slice the beets ~3/8 inch thick.
Add to now combined sauce. Toss around for a bit. If you can leave it sit, the sauce will get better.
Put beets on plate; put fork in beets; put beets in mouth; enjoy!
*Beet juice: yes, it will stain. You can remove said stain with a little bit of acid - like with lemon juice or vinagar.
The one icky part of beets:
To put it delicately: You will notice discoloration the next day when the beets have made their progress through your gi track. It's normal, but it can freak people out (like my housemates who hadn't had real beets before. :eek: They loved the beets, tho! :D
02-24-2006, 01:30 PM
Well, it'll depend.
I never liked veggies as a kid. And then I discovered something: it wasn't the veggies, I just didn't like canned or frozen veggies (with the sole exception of canned corn). Give me a plate of raw green beans and I'm happy. Give me a plate with fresh beans that had been steamed and I'll chow down. Canned: I'll be able to keep it down, but I won't enjoy it.
Here's an example. I was always under the impression that I hated spinach. Because the only times I had encountered it was canned (which I still believe is a vile abomination). Then I had a really good salad, and found out that the little leaf looking things in it weren't lettuce, they were spinach. Then I discovered garlic sauteed spinach (http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_31109,00.html): MMMMmmmm!
I'd say the best place to start would be the produce section, not the canned / frozen foods aisle. Some veggies can be eaten raw by themselves, some in a salad, some with some simple steaming or sauteeing. Move the veggies from being a side dish into the main course, like a soup or stew. Try different veggies (and different preparations) to see what appeals to your tastes. Check out recipe sites on the internet for ideas.
Veggies: they're not just for torturing children anymore! :)
02-24-2006, 02:49 PM
Have you considered roasting vegetables? This cooking method brings out the natural sugars and does wonderful things for onions, green beans, zucchini, etc. Pick out an assortment of veggies, scrub the skins, chop into bite-size pieces. Toss with about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oit and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put vegetables in roasting pan and place in preheated 500° oven. Open the oven door and toss veggies about every 10 minutes. When you can slide a small knife into most pieces of vegetables with little to no resistance and you can see browning on the surface of the vegetables, they're done. You might not even need any extra sauce, but if you do, try a balsamic vinegraitte(sp). Hope this helps.
02-24-2006, 03:10 PM
I can eat anything if there is enough cheese on it. But it kinda defetes the point, no? Trying to eat the veggies because they are healthy, then you go an throw cheese sauce all over them.
Not really-that cheese has calcium in it, doesn't it? Cheese, when eaten in moderation, is just fine.
My dad grills onions and mushrooms, which are quite tasty. Chopped onions add zest to a salad or sandwhich. And chick peas! Oh, do I loves myself some chick peas! Raw in a salad, or in hummus-mmmmmm!
02-24-2006, 08:08 PM
Quoth even sven:(made with real veggies- lettuce is the nutritiounal equivelent of eating water)Correction: Proper lettuce is just fine (though still not as nutritious as, say, cabbage or spinach). Iceberg lettuce, however, is water, but with less flavor. Unfortunately, iceberg is by far the most common in the US, but one can sometimes find a good Romaine or endive.
Also, I've heard that it's possible to get microwaved veggies to come out just fine, but you'll have to do a fair bit of experimenting with different times and power settings for your particular microwave. Myself, I usually just steam them.
02-24-2006, 08:22 PM
Sorry if this is a repeat of anything.....
Try cooking the stinky ones (broccoli, cauliflower) in a mixture of beef or chicken broth and water. It will cut down on the smell and give them more flavor.
I douse Brussels sprouts and just about anything with soy sauce and/or cumin.
Season them, flavor them, spice them up.
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